Sunday, January 09, 2022

Industrial Wind Turbines Once Again Demonstrate their Unreliability

The unreliability of those industrial wind turbines (IWT), touted as a key ingredient to save the world from “global warming” by eco-warriors and obtuse politicians, once again demonstrated their uselessness!

Here in Ontario on December 28, 2021 at 4 AM (the middle of the night) they were cranking out power (when demand was low) generating 69.4% (3,072 MWh) of their rated capacity but by 4 PM in the afternoon when demand was much higher their output was a miserly 1.5% (65 MWh) of their rated capacity. To add further context to the foregoing at 4 AM IWT were generating about 22% of total Ontario demand but by 4 PM when demand was much higher those IWT were generating 0.004% of Ontario’s demand.

IWTs bad reliability habit means our grid operator, IESO, has a much more complex system to operate with a transmission grid connecting all of those IWT and requiring gas plants to remain “at the ready” when the wind dies down or picks up. Those manipulations add costs to our electricity system thereby helping to create energy poverty by driving up the per kWh (kilowatt hour) costs for households. It also serves to drive our manufacturing companies to other provinces and U.S.A. states with lower electricity prices meaning job losses are one of the outcomes.

As if the foregoing isn’t bad enough if one looks at just 9 hours starting at 10 PM (when Ontario demand falls) December 27th through to 7 AM (when electricity demand starts its daily increase) on December 28th we learn we exported 23,514 MWh to our neighbours in Michigan, NY, Quebec, etc. as that IWT generation was surplus to our needs. We sold those 23,514 MWh for the average price of $17/MWh (1.7cents/kWh) during those 9 hours. Co-incidently those IWT generated 22,617 MWh during the same timeframe and it also appears we curtailed another 1,100 MWh meaning Ontario’s ratepayers picked up the costs for 23,717 MWh of wind which highlights them as the cause of the exported power at the miserly price of 1.7cents/kWh.

The all-in costs (including curtailed) for the IWT generation over the 9 hours was approximately $3.2 million but we received only $400K in payment for selling a like amount of their generation to our neighbours so; Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers picked up the loss of $2.8 million ($311K per hour). Please note the foregoing loss is from only 9 hours out of 8,760 hours in a full year.

Perhaps as a UK website “Net-Zero Watch” recently suggested to the UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith should take heed and do as they recommend and; “compel wind and solar generators to pay for their own balancing costs, thus incentivising them to self-dispatch only when economic.”

Ontario’s electricity sector needs to rid itself of the costs of IWT’s unreliable and intermittent supply so now is the time to bring in some new regulations to stop the bleeding!


The uselessness of solar energy

You sometimes see newspaper headlines to the effect that, say, a “50 megawatt solar power plant” is being constructed. But you shouldn’t count on getting anything remotely approaching 50 megawatts of power from such an installation. Energy expert Isaac Orr explains:

"Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that production from solar panels plummets in the winter. The graph below shows the percentage of electricity generated by solar panels in Minnesota compared to their potential output. This percentage is called a capacity factor in electricity-industry lingo."

Isaac’s analysis applies specifically to Minnesota, but bear in mind that while northern states get fewer hours of sunlight than southern states in the winter, they get more hours of sunlight in the summer. And note that in the best of times, solar panels don’t produce electricity anywhere near half the time.

Minnesota solar panels are most productive in June and July, when they produce almost 30 percent of their potential output. Unsurprisingly, solar panels produce far less energy in November, December, and January, where production capacity factors are seldom above 10 percent.

That is pathetic. We spend billions of dollars on solar panels and transmission lines, and in winter, when we need energy the most, they work only around ten percent of the time.

Another reason for falling productivity in winter is snow cover. Even a thin layer of snow on panels can lead to significant reductions in electricity generation from solar panels, and as Ralph Jacobson, the founder of IPS Solar, has said in the past, it is too expensive to pay someone to clear snow off the panels.

Process that fact: solar panels are such a lame energy source that when it snows, it isn’t worth it to pay someone–high school kids, probably–to shovel them off.


Netherlands Goes Nuclear In Massive Atomic Humanist Victory!

Dutch government will keep existing nuclear plant operating AND build two more full-sized water-cooled plants

Four years ago, the conventional wisdom in Europe was that the continent was transitioning to renewable energies. The cost of electricity from solar panels, wind turbines, and natural gas had declined significantly, and lithium batteries could soon replace natural gas to provide energy when the sun wasn’t shining and the wind wasn’t blowing. And, held the consensus view, nuclear energy was going away; the main question was how soon existing nuclear plants could be dismantled.

Today, the conventional wisdom has changed radically. Energy and electricity prices are at record levels due to Europe’s over-reliance on renewables, inadequate supplies of nuclear energy, and shortages of oil and gas due to under-investment in oil and gas exploration and production. Carbon emissions in Germany rose 25% in the first half of 2020 due in large part to a 25% decline in wind, underscoring the unreliable nature of weather-dependent renewables. In response, both France and Britain have promised a major expansion of nuclear energy.

Not everything has changed. Both Germany and Belgium are moving full speed ahead with plans to shut down their nuclear power plants, and both nations, along with Austria and Switzerland, are lobbying to exclude nuclear energy from the list of energy technologies the European Union will categorize as sustainable. At the same time, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said recently that she believes the EU will nonetheless count nuclear as sustainable in its taxonomy, resistance is growing in both Germany and Belgium to closing nuclear plants, and a new YouGov poll finds that over half of Germans say nuclear should remain part of their nation’s climate policy.

The strongest evidence yet that the conventional wisdom has changed came yesterday from the Netherlands. Its government announced that it will not only keep its existing nuclear power plant operating but also build two additional ones. To signal its seriousness, the government has allocated €5 billion for new plant construction. “We did a market consultation recently,” the Netherlands’ State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate, Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, told me yesterday, “and parties are definitely interested.”

Dutch pro-nuclear activists were ecstatic. “All year there was the suggestion that the government would merely be launching more ‘research’ into the role of nuclear,” said Joris Van Dorp, co-founder of the Nuclear Pride Coalition, “but now they have gone all the way by putting up the money needed to actually realize projects.”

The transformation of public opinion and conventional wisdom in the Netherlands is striking. “Four years ago, RePlanet Nederland was the only civilian movement to speak out in favor of nuclear energy,” said Olguita Oudendijk, director of the pro-nuclear NGO, “and we were excluded from the Climate Agreement negotiations.” Fast-forward four years later, and the demands of RePlanet, formerly known as the Ecomodernisme Foundation, are at the center of government climate and energy policy.

Explained Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, “Since my party, the VVD, started the discussion on nuclear energy at the end of 2018, there has been growing support for nuclear energy amongst Dutch people. While some political parties like the Greens still try to tackle climate change with ideology rather than rationality, other political parties have changed their views, based on the facts, rather than ideology. If everything goes well, the new plants will be ready by 2035.”

What happened? Why did a once-marginal cause, pro-nuclear environmentalism, move from the margins to the center of Dutch energy policy? Why did facts trump ideology? The answers to those questions matter not just to people who care about Europe, energy, and climate change, but to anybody who is interested in how social change really happens.


Australia: Federal Opposition leader offers cautious policies on climate

Anthony Albanese says his climate change plan has struck the right balance to win over voters in regional Queensland, as he begins a week-long road trip from Cairns to Gladstone in a pre-election campaign in the crucial state.

While Labor’s climate change policies have been an electoral negative in the coal-rich state in the past decade, the Opposition Leader said he would visit resources projects and tell workers the future would be bright if he became prime minister. He will promise to deliver cheaper power bills to ramp up manufacturing in the state and keep the aluminium industry viable.

Mr Albanese said Labor’s climate plan had been “really well received” in North and Central Queensland, which swung heavily against Bill Shorten at the last election due to the party’s ambivalence over the coal industry and the Adani mine.

Mr Albanese’s 2030 emissions target of 43 per cent is similar to the 45 per cent target Mr Shorten took to the last poll.

But this time Labor will go to the election saying its plan would not close any coal mine or coal-fired power station earlier than the Coalition’s policies.

Mr Albanese will also have the cover of the Business Council of Australia calling for a 2030 target of 46-50 per cent – a far cry the group calling Mr Shorten’s 45 per cent target “economy wrecking” ahead of the last poll.

“It is an opportunity to end the climate wars by the election of a Labor government,” Mr Albanese told The Australian.

“It has received support from the Business Council, the Australian Industry Group, the National Farmers Federation and (the) Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the ACTU and unions.

“That shows that we are where we needed to be.

“Business, industry and farmers want certainty to drive investment and Labor’s powering the nation plan will do just that. Queensland’s regions will particularly benefit from our plan.”

Mr Albanese arrived in Cairns on Thursday night, in the electorate of Leichhardt held by Liberal National MP Warren Entsch on a margin of 4.2 per cent.

On Friday, Mr Albanese will visit the Great Barrier Reef and talk up Labor’s plan to safeguard the natural wonder which is likely to come under strain from rising water temperatures due to climate change.

He will also visit the seats of Kennedy, Herbert, Dawson, Capricornia and Flynn, all held by the Coalition, before campaigning in Brisbane electorates at the end of next week.

Labor has just eight out of 30 seats in Queensland, with Blair MP Shayne Neumann holding the only seat outside of Brisbane.

Mr Albanese said the pandemic highlighted the problems with insecure work and increasing casualisation, which has been a concern for Queensland miners given the growth of labour hire.

“Covid has shown the strength of our society but it has also shown a range of economic vulnerabilities,” he said. “Both for individual workers, in terms of secure work, people in casual employment have missed out.

“Whole sectors have missed out, particularly sectors important for Queensland. The tourism sector, agriculture has suffered from a lack of workers and supply chain issues, climate change continues to make communities and industries vulnerable.

“And the cuts to TAFE, universities and apprenticeships mean that people aren’t getting the opportunities to advance and to fulfil their aspirations which is what we want.”

Mr Albanese will look to exploit the tensions in national cabinet by telling Queenslanders that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had not supported them.

“The Palaszczuk government has done very well protecting Queenslanders during Covid but they have been let down by the Morrison government which has continued to attack Queensland rather than provide it with support,” he said.




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